[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 September 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Sep 13 13:58:08 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 13 September 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Sandiganbayan vows to act swiftly on Estrada's appeal (www.gmanews.tv)
The Sandiganbayan on Thursday said it will act swiftly on the motion for reconsideration to be filed by lawyers of deposed President Joseph Estrada. 

In an interview over dzBB radio, Sandiganbayan spokesman Renato Bocar said the antigraft court will resolve a possible appeal on the special division's ruling "in a month's time." 

Bocar noted that the court had already studied the evidence related to the case, although he did not discount the possibility of holding additional hearings on the appeal "if necessary."

Estrada's lawyer Rene Saguisag said the defense will take the "slow route" and file a motion for reconsideration before the graft court, instead of appealing the case directly before the Supreme Court. Defense lawyers have 15 days, or until Sept. 27, to appeal the Sandiganbayan's verdict.

"Napag-aralan ng mahistrado ang ebidensya ng kaso. Pero ang one month ay one month from date of submission (The justices have already studied the evidence. But let me clarify that the one-month timetable [for the resolution of the motion] starts on the date of submission)," Bocar said.


Arroyo: Verdict on Estrada to end destabilization talk (Inquirer)


MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Wednesday night the Sandiganbayan decision to convict former President Joseph Estrada should put an end to destabilization talk, but calls were made for her to bring to trial cases of plunder and corruption committed under her administration.


Speaking during the launch in Malacañang of a forum for peace attended by Christian bishops, Muslim ulamas (preachers) and military leaders, Ms Arroyo said: "We live by the rule of law. We abide by what the courts of the land decide."


She later told reporters: "We abide by what the court decides."


Asked if the court ruling on Estrada put an end to talk of destabilization, Ms Arroyo said: "That's all right to say that."


Erap willing to go to Muntinlupa jail (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Former president Joseph Estrada is willing to be incarcerated in an ordinary jail after being found guilty of the crime of plunder, his lawyer said Thursday.


"If you ask Erap today, he is willing to go to [National Bilibid Prison in] Muntinlupa at this very moment," former senator Rene Saguisag, co-lead counsel of Estrada, told ABS-CBN.


Saguisag said that after the Sandiganbayan First Division read the guilty verdict on his plunder case, Estrada was prepared to be brought to the national penitentiary, where common criminals are jailed.


The lawyer said he even approached the three justices of the Sandiganbayan and informed them about Estrada's insistence of being brought to Muntinlupa.


"Thinking of his welfare I approached President Erap, what really is his desire, he told me, 'No.' At the moment, yesterday, he was ready to be brought to Muntinlupa," he said.


Saguisag added: "Erap wanted me to convey to the court that he is not going to seek special, privileged treatment. Kung dalhin ora mismo (If they want to bring him [to jail] immediately), so be it. And the court said, 'No. Let's keep the current custodial arrangement meantime."


After a gathering with his family at the sixth floor of the Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City, Estrada was flown back to his resthouse in Tanay, Rizal, where he had been on house arrest for several years.


Saguisag added that being brought to the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City is the one thing that Estrada and his estranged buddy, former Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, have agreed.


Singson on Tuesday said justice would not be complete if Estrada is not brought to the national penitentiary. 


Saguisag added that the former president had also told his lawyers that he will not accept any pardon from President Arroyo, who has been perceived by Estrada as an illegitimate president.


"Today, as I speak, he certainly will not accept a pardon," the lawyer said.


Court bases decision on two illegal acts (Inquirer)


MANILA, Philippines -- Four illegal acts constituted the plunder charge filed against deposed President Joseph Estrada, but prosecutors were only able to pin him down on two -- his systematic collection of P545 million in illegal gambling payoffs and his receipt of a P189-million commission from stock market purchases using state pension funds.


The court observed that this was the first case of plunder to be filed against "the highest official of the land, a former President, among others."


"Needless to state, the resolution of this case shall set significant historical and legal precedents," it said.


The 212-page decision handed down by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court Wednesday said prosecutors had proven beyond reasonable doubt that "elements of plunder" existed in those two acts, enough to convict the 70-year-old Estrada.


Sison to stay in jail till Christmas (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, will remain in solitary confinement in The Netherlands for another 90 days, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau reported Thursday. 


National Democratic Front chairman Luis Jalandoni said a Hague court decided to extend Sison's detention until Christmas while he undergoes pre-trial investigation for allegedly ordering the assassination of two former comrades in the Philippine communist underground movement.


Jalandoni said he received the information from Michiel Pestman, Sison's chief legal counsel. 


Jalandoni said Dutch authorities are violating Sison's recognized right to receive visits from his family and his doctor. He added that solitary confinement is inhuman and a disgrace to a government that claims to respect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. 


Activist groups in the Netherlands are gearing up for more protest actions in the wake of the court's decision. They said the closed-door hearings are blatant violations of the principle of transparency.  


MILF leader urges 'freedom' peace efforts as Ramadan starts (Associated Press)

MANILA, Philippines -- A Muslim separatist leader in the Philippines urged his followers at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan Thursday to continue working toward self-rule despite stalled peace talks and recent clashes with government troops.

Formal peace talks on ending a decades-long Muslim insurgency, brokered by neighboring Malaysia, stalled last year over the size of the southern region that would fall under Muslim control.

A 2003 ceasefire between the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government was shaken in July when 14 marines were killed -- 10 of them beheaded -- following a clash with MILF guerrillas on southern Basilan Island.

Malaysia has since extended its peace monitoring mission in the southern Philippines and urged the rebels and the government to resume peace talks.

"Let us redouble our efforts towards attaining our most coveted objective to regain our usurped freedom and immorally annexed homeland," MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad said in his message. "Be it known to everyone that the MILF leadership is ready to work for peace even during the fasting month of Ramadan."

Comelec prepares for October election (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

AS FAR as the Commission on Elections is concerned, the synchronized elections for barangay and youth councils will push through as scheduled on Oct. 29. 

Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and the commission en banc came out with Resolution 8297 yesterday, detailing the procedures of, as well as the requirements for candidates to, the synchronized polls. 

In the same resolution, the poll body set from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19 as the period for the filing of certificate of candidacy for barangay and SK positions. 

The certificate of candidacy, which can be obtained free of charge from the local election office of the city or municipality concerned, can be filed by the candidate personally or by his duly-authorized representative to the local poll office, Comelec said. 

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